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1/10 — Kelli McGuire for the "FORM" issue



Meet The Founders of VISCERAL8: The Platform For Community-Driven Art

The term “visceral” can be described as “relating to deep inward feelings”—also known as, that gut reaction you have when something that moves you; or, alternatively, a deeply thoughtful response to a prompt. The platform VISCERAL8 is an obvious nod to those definitions, but with an added element of community—where the collective feelings of a group are expressed, both digitally and in zine form. With the latter, founders Sabrina Santiago and Sara Laufer invite contributors to submit to each issue, so that the final publication is a product of what they call a “collective stream of consciousness”. Their latest issue is rounding out the first volume of VISCERAL8, and it’s called “AGE”. You can put forward your submission here (deadline April 8) and read more about the vision behind the platform below. Check out the slideshow above to take a peak at past issues.

VISCERAL8 is a platform where artists interpret words via visuals. Can you talk more about that and how this idea came to life?

VISCERAL8 started off as a way for us to imagine how we could create a community we could feel rooted in here in New York. The project began when we were first year students at New York University. We had many conceptions of the project from a zine, to our previous website to the current website design now. We are always excited about the idea of collaboration especially with all of the inspiration and opportunity in New York, but also wanted to find a way we could connect with artists outside of the city. VISCERAL8 makes that quite easy as our concept is something that artists everywhere can understand.

How would you define the “collective stream of consciousness”? What does that mean in terms of bringing together lots of different perspectives and mediums?

The “stream of consciousness” is the continuous scroll we make present on the website. We’re always scrolling, whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook and we want to heighten that sensation with curated content from contemporary artists. We also want to connect artists that unknowingly made work similar to another and present their work in a way that feels never-ending and linked. Words have so many connotations and interpretations. We hope to bring these forward through VISCERAL8.

This issue’s theme is AGE. Tell us more about that and what you’re hoping to see from contributors.

Yes—our 8th issue is “AGE”. We want to round out the first volume (eight issues) with imagery relating to time, endings, lives lived, stories passed on. When we map out the words for future issues, we try to have the words balance each other out and resonate with what we think of as being “visceral.”

Does anyone ever surprise you or shock you with their interpretations? What are some memorable past submissions?

We’re always inspired by our submissions, whether it’s how literal the artist took the word or how abstract. Sometimes I think just having a prompt can really be a catalyst, there is so much to create so we hope having something as simple a word can facilitate ideas naturally. One of our artists for our first issue based on the word FORM, Ieva Ragauskaite now based in Cambodia said that “it is like a game that keeps me creative” and that it was her first work for a specific theme and she was grateful to create something special for her. We really just want to create a community for new, emerging, and established artists to share work.

What is the overarching mission of VISCERAL8? Can you talk about long term goals and vision?

VISCERAL8’s overall mission is to provide an accessible platform for artists to create work and join a community where their art can be a part of a global “stream of consciousness.” We invite artists to contribute anywhere between 1 and 8 visuals per issue, with a new issue is released every two months. We hope that long-term, VISCERAL8 will expand to have a more physical presence, with galleries and events around New York on a consistent basis. We also hope to be able to commission VISCERAL8 artists for projects with brands we have going on outside of the platform. We are so excited for what’s cooking up!

Images courtesy of VISCERAL8

Stay tuned to Milk for more community-driven art.

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